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23 aprile 2010

Kosas System

According to P.R. Sakar [AS 3-1] the manifest mind forms after the citta during the course of pratisaincara. The manifest mind is comprised of six kosas (or layers) the physical (crude) body and five layers of manifest mind (subtle body). Each kosa having different function and a different degree of subtlety. The kosas are as follows:
  • Annamaya Kosa

    The annamaya kosa is the physical body, and is comprised of the five fundamental factors. `This is the crude receptacle of the unit entity, and is the property of saincara'[AS 3-1]. It is like a machine which is controlled by the kamamaya kosa.
  • Kamamaya Kosa

    The kamamaya kosa is the crude mind. It is related to the ordinary conscious mind and the neo-cortex. It has three functions, 1) to sense external stimuli via the indriyas, 2) to form desires based on these sensations, 3) to perform actions through the motor organs. It controls the indriyas and the instincts and activates the body to fulfill the basic desires for food, sleep, sex and to react to fear.This layer is possessed also by animals and even trees. When this layer dominates, there is no sense of I. When this kosa is operative the mind is in a state of waking consciousness.
    The functions of this layer are associated with citta.
  • Manomaya Kosa

    The manomaya kosa is the subtle mind or subconscious, (part of the western unconscious) mind. It directly controls the conscious mind and is responsible for four functions, 1) memory, 2) contemplation, 3) experience of pleasure and pain, 4) dreaming.1) There are two types of memory, cerebral and extra cerebral. The former is primarily from the current lifetime, and is stored in the brain cells of the annamaya kosa. Many things are remembered directly by this layer of the mind, and are retrievable under hypnosis, i.e. they are not filtered the way conscious perception is.
    Extra cerebral memory comes from past lives, but must also have a component that is being stored in this lifetime. It is usually only consciously accessible to very young children. Since this layer of the mind does not survive death, the extra cerebral memory must be held by the atimanas kosa, e.g. the samskaras.
    2) Most thinking goes on in this layer (contemplation), including reasoning, logical thought, and problem solving. It handles daily life, information, management, and computation. It is also involved with philosophy.
    When one is deep in this layer, the indriyas may be closed off, e.g. deep absorption in a problem, and it may generate pictures that cause motor responses, without external stimulus.
    3) This level of mind experiences pleasure and pain. It is thus involved with experiencing the reactions of past actions.
    4) Dreaming occurs in this layer of the mind, when the kamamaya kosa (the conscious mind) is not operating, as it is related to memory. But this would be only ordinary dreams? There are also dreams which access higher levels?
    Most of the functions of this layer are associated with the aham, though the actual storage of memories must be a citta function.
  • Atimanas Kosa

    The atimanas kosa is the supramental or unconscious mind. This mind is only an under-recognized part of the western unconscious mind. It is beyond our normal consciousness. This is where the samskaras are stored, and by implication it is the seat of the extra-cerebral memory.This is the first level of causal mind. When the lower functions of mind are suspended in meditation, there is nothing to separate the unit causal mind from the Cosmic causal mind, except the seeds of past samskaras.
    This is the level of intuition and creative insight. It can also influence dreams, often providing images which are the solutions to long contemplated problems. When the cruder levels of mind are still then this layer can be experienced directly, as in clairvoyant work. This level may also be accessed in hypnosis, or concentrated gaze on a flame, crystal etc., i.e. skrying. In this case much of what is accessed is the reflection of ones ownsamskaras. In clairvoyant reading etc. one works from a centered, `neutral' stance at the sixth chakra.
    This level of mind first expresses the samskaras, and the desire for sadhana. It resonates with natural settings and devotional music.
    The functions of this layer are associated with aham and mahat.
  • Vijinanamaya Kosa

    The vijinanamaya kosa is the subliminal mind. It is the middle layer of the causal mind. It is able to grasp all of objective existence, both in space and time. It perceives all tanmatras, unlike the lower layers of mind. It expresses many divine attributes, mercy, patience, humility etc. Including dhyana, or deep meditation.The vijinanamaya kosa has two primary functions: 1) viveka, or discrimination, and 2) vaeragya, or non-attatchment.
    • Viveka: Discrimination is the faculty of discerning what is Eternal and what is not. This is the main function of the buddhi, which is part of ahamtattva.
    • Vaeragya: Non-attachment can only be attained after Viveka has awakened. It is not properly thought of as renunciation. It arises from an attraction to the Supreme, rather than a repulsion from the worldly. It arises from seeing all this finite world as the manifestation of the Infinite. Then love for the finite and love for the infinite merge. This is different from renunciation. In fact an overly developed repulsion for the physical during life prevents proper rebirth after death.
    The functions of this layer are associated mainly with mahat?
  • Hiranmaya Kosa

    The hiranmaya kosa is the subtle causal or `golden' mind. This is the subtlest layer of the causal mind. In this layer the sense of I is latent, no yet manifest. There is a golden effulgence and a great, overwhelming, attraction for the Supreme.Establishment in this kosa on a universal basis is described as Savikalpa Samadhi. When the samskaras are exhausted it can merge in Bhrama which is Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
    This kosa is the first expression of mahatattva.It is only separated from the Atman by a thin veil.
In Ananda Sutram 3-1, it is stated that the kamamaya kosa is the crude mind, the manomaya kosa is the subtle mind, while the atimansas, vijinanamaya and hiranmaya kosas together form the `causal [or astral, or unconscious mind]'. It is only the layers of the causal mind that survive the death of the physical body.

The annamaya kosa is called the crude body, while the other five kosas make up the subtle body.
The process of purifying and perfecting the kosas is the true subject of Yoga and of Tantra. This is called sadhana. In all beings the kosas are also being purified by natural processes, though at a slower rate.
The ahamtattva and mahatattva are said to form the supra-causal body (?).
Each kosa is larger than the one below it.

Didi AM indicated that the neo-cortex corresponds to the kamamaya kosa, but does it also include the the limbic brain with its emotions?

In the Mind of the Cells there are presented these levels of mind: The intellectual mind, the emotional mind, the sensory mind, and the physical mind. These might correspond with the first 3-4 kosas. In this case the emotional mind would correspond with the limbic brain, as in Didi's presentation.
When the mind turns towards the supreme and experiences bliss it can rise above the samskaras, i.e. above the atimanas kosa.

This includes the cellular minds, the group minds of the organs, and the overall physical mind of the body.
In ON Reik (based in part on Osho Rajneesh's philosphy) a discription of seven layers of mind is given as follows:
  • The physical body. It teaches is to be in the present.
  • The etheric body. It teaches us unconditional love. It is affected through the senses, by mantras, yantras, incense, and color.
  • The astral body. It has the same extent as the first two bodies, but is not spatially limited, allowing "astral travel". It can move in the past, and retains many past desires creating tension. [I.e. subconscious memory.]
  • The mental body. The layer of mind and thoughts. It is a place of confusion, of chaotic identification with one idea or concept after another. This is eased by passive awareness.
  • The spiritual body. This body teaches us self-knowledge. It is the layer where we experience divine discontent, for which the medicine is silent meditation.
  • The cosmic body. On the boundary of the infinite. Here we give up ourself to the divine.
  • The nirvanic body. The source, beyond our normal existence.

The Four Kosa System

A slightly different set of kosas is found in Sir Woodroffe's Introduction to Tantra Sastra and in Yoga and Psychotherapy. Between the body ( Annamaya kosa) and the Atman are given four kosas (rather than five). These are:
  • Pranamaya Kosa, the body of prana, or vital energy.
  • Manomaya Kosa, the body of the mind. In this level are all the conscious and unconscious aspects of mind.
  • Vijinanamaya Kosa , the body of "pure buddhi", or intuition ( bodhi).
  • Anadamaya Kosa , the body of global witness.
Assuming those with the same name can be identified, and that those in-between two so identified may also be identified, we may equate the Pranamaya Kosa with the Kamamaya kosa, and the Anadamaya kosa with the Hiranmaya kosa, while the missing kosa would be the Atimanas. However, if in Sarkar's system prana is controlled by the kosas, implying it is separate, then this reasoning may not hold. Furthermore if this Vijinanamaya kosa is associated with the intuition then it may combine both the Atimanas and the Vijinanamaya kosas.

Woodroffe notes that in Theosophic terminology these are the physcial body, the etheric body, the astral, or lower mental, body, the causal, or higher mental, body, and the highest (Atmik) body.
In this system the kamamaya kosa appears to be the pranamaya kosa, the kosa of prana the vital energy in the body, and the link between body and mind.

Sakar states that prana is controlled by the kosas and in turn controls the five fundamental factors, which might place its operation in between kamamaya and annamaya kosas. However, he also states that pranayama purifies the manomaya kosa, so prana may affect the subtle (or subconscious) mind.
The vijinanamaya kosa is said to be the kosa ..?

Interactions between Kosas

There are several types of interpersonal interactions in which one person's kosa influences a lower kosa of another.
  • Physical attraction: occurs when one person's kamamaya kosa influences the annamaya kosa of another.
  •  Hypnotism: occurs when one person's manomaya kosa influences the kamamaya kosa of another. This can be either with, or without the consent of the person being influenced. P. R. Sakar states that it is generally better not to allow oneself to be hypnotized as it will weaken the will.
  • Raksasii vidya, "demonic influence" occurs when one person's atimanas kosa influences the manomaya kosa of another. This appears to be mainly negative, and will eventually come back to harm the practitioner.
  • Gandharva vidya occurs when one person's vijinamaya kosa influences the atimanas kosa of another through music or oratory. This can be used to elevate another's mind through singing, dance, or speaking.
  • Daevii vidya occurs when one person's hiranmaya kosa influences the vijinamaya kosa of another. It can also be used to elevate the mind of a student.
  • Bhrama vidya occurs when the Atman influences the hiranmaya kosa of a devotee. This is the attraction between the unit soul and Cosmic Consciousness through the medium of a sadguru.
The reflection of Cosmic mind is increasingly distorted as the dominance of Prakrti increases in the lower kosas.

Formation of the Kosas

The logical consequence of the dissolution of the lower mental kosas at the death of the physical body (i.e. the kamamaya and manomaya kosas) is that they must reform when the soul comes into a new body. It appears that initially there are the higher kosas ( atimanas and above) and the seed of the physical body. As this grows the first to layers of mind also grow. This growth is, in some sense from the base up (?), i.e. it is based on the body and the experience of the body.

Certainly the consciousness of the unit appears to grow from the bottom up, until it begins to meet the existing consciousness of its "higher self" which is perhaps more closely connected with the Infinite. If the focus of the soul is on climbing back out of the body, there is something incomplete in its development. Part of the goal of spiritual practices is to continue to refine the body and the lower layers of the mind, to fully expand them to match the capacity of the upper layers. This allows the fullest manifestation of the soul at all levels.